The Formula for Success

Let’s consider three approaches to life:

1. Making things happen
2. Watching things happen
3. Waiting for things to happen to you

We all adopt each of these approaches at various times in our life, but most of us have one approach that we tend to use the majority of the time. Which one do you use most often?

When we watch things happen, we usually do so out of fear. Fear keeps us from participating more fully in life’s adventures. Maybe you’re thinking, “Fear is for the weak. I don’t feel fear.” Sure you do, you just call it stress.

People who tend to wait for things to happen fall into two groups. First, there are those that believe they’re entitled or deserving of the life they want. They shouldn’t have to do anything; the things they want should just come to them. And second, there are those that are simply more comfortable reacting to life’s events. People in the first group might be described as lazy, but you can’t just assume that because you’re busy all of the time, that you don’t approach life from a “wait for things to happen” perspective. If life seems to always be happening to you, if you feel out of control or stressed, you are in the second group.

The most successful people take the proactive approach to life-they make things happen. They feel in control of their destiny, and they are optimistic about their future. And the reverse is true, too: Those who are proactive in life become the most successful people. That right there is the formula for success boiled down to its most basic concept.

What about people who win the lottery? Surely they’re happy and in control, right? For a time, maybe. It’s possible to be successful in the short-term without being proactive, but that success does not last very long. Nearly one-third of the people who win the lottery go bankrupt, and the majority of lottery winners report being no happier one year later than they were before they won.

If there’s some part of your life you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with, something in your life you’re frustrated with and wish was different, first ask yourself which approach you’ve been taking: do you watch things happen, do you wait for things to happen, or do you make things happen? Awareness is the first step. Even if you’re not ready to take action, it’s important to know which approach you are most comfortable with. At least then you’ll know why you’re stuck!

The universe doesn’t care whether you think you deserve something or not. But the universe does respond to those who help themselves. The most successful people have countless stories of strange synchronicities and good fortune that came as the result of taking action. Push yourself to become more proactive and see for yourself.

And if you do tend to be a proactive person already, then this is your wake-up call. What is the one thing you’re not doing right now that, if you did it, it would have the greatest impact on your goal or problem? Once you’ve answered that question, take action on it immediately.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

©2005 Curtis G. Schmitt

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